Nav: Home

Heart disease biomarker linked to paleo diet

July 22, 2019

People who follow the paleo diet have twice the amount of a key blood biomarker linked closely to heart disease, the world's first major study examining the impact of the diet on gut bacteria has found.

Researchers from Edith Cowan University (ECU) compared 44 people on the diet with 47 following a traditional Australian diet.

The research, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, measured the amount of trimethylamine-n-oxide (TMAO) in participants' blood.

High levels of TMAO, an organic compound produced in the gut, are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, which kills one Australian every 12 minutes.

Impact on gut health

The controversial Paleo (or 'caveman') diet advocates eating meat, vegetables, nuts and limited fruit, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy, salt, refined sugar and processed oils.

Lead researcher Dr Angela Genoni said that with the diet's growing popularity, it was important to understand the impact it could have on overall health.

"Many Paleo diet proponents claim the diet is beneficial to gut health, but this research suggests that when it comes to the production of TMAO in the gut, the Paleo diet could be having an adverse impact in terms of heart health," she said.

"We also found that populations of beneficial bacterial species were lower in the Paleolithic groups, associated with the reduced carbohydrate intake, which may have consequences for other chronic diseases over the long term."

Reduced intake of whole grains to blame

She said the reason TMAO was so elevated in people on the Paleo diet appeared to be the lack of whole grains in their diet.

"We found the lack of whole grains were associated with TMAO levels, which may provide a link between the reduced risks of cardiovascular disease we see in populations with high intakes of whole grains," she said.

The researchers also found higher concentrations of the bacteria that produces TMAO in the Paleo group.

"The Paleo diet excludes all grains and we know that whole grains are a fantastic source of resistant starch and many other fermentable fibres that are vital to the health of your gut microbiome," Dr Genoni said.

"Because TMAO is produced in the gut, a lack of whole grains might change the populations of bacteria enough to enable higher production of this compound.

"Additionally, the Paleo diet includes greater servings per day of red meat, which provides the precursor compounds to produce TMAO, and Paleo followers consumed twice the recommended level of saturated fats, which is cause for concern.

Dr Angela Genoni initially presented her findings at the Nutrition Society of Australia Conference last year. This is the first time the findings have been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
-end-
'Long-term Paleolithic diet is associated with lower resistant starch intake, different gut microbiota composition and increased serum TMAO concentrations' was recently published in The European Journal of Nutrition.

Media contact: David Gear, Corporate Relations Officer, (08) 6304 2288, d.gear@ecu.edu.au

Edith Cowan University

Related Heart Disease Articles:

Pacemakers can improve heart function in patients with chemotherapy-induced heart disease
Research has shown that treating chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy with commercially available cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) delivered through a surgically implanted defibrillator or pacemaker can significantly improve patient outcomes.
Arsenic in drinking water may change heart structure raising risk of heart disease
Drinking water that is contaminated with arsenic may lead to thickening of the heart's main pumping chamber in young adults, according to a new study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
New health calculator can help predict heart disease risk, estimate heart age
A new online health calculator can help people determine their risk of heart disease, as well as their heart age, accounting for sociodemographic factors such as ethnicity, sense of belonging and education, as well as health status and lifestyle behaviors.
Wide variation in rate of death between VA hospitals for patients with heart disease, heart failure
Death rates for veterans with ischemic heart disease and chronic heart failure varied widely across the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system from 2010 to 2014, which could suggest differences in the quality of cardiovascular health care provided by VA medical centers.
Heart failure: The Alzheimer's disease of the heart?
Similar to how protein clumps build up in the brain in people with some neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, protein clumps appear to accumulate in the diseased hearts of mice and people with heart failure, according to a team led by Johns Hopkins University researchers.
Women once considered low risk for heart disease show evidence of previous heart attack scars
Women who complain about chest pain often are reassured by their doctors that there is no reason to worry because their angiograms show that the women don't have blockages in the major heart arteries, a primary cause of heart attacks in men.
Where you live could determine risk of heart attack, stroke or dying of heart disease
People living in parts of Ontario with better access to preventive health care had lower rates of cardiac events compared to residents of regions with less access, found a new study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
Older adults with heart disease can become more independent and heart healthy with physical activity
Improving physical function among older adults with heart disease helps heart health and even the oldest have a better quality of life and greater independence.
Dietary factors associated with substantial proportion of deaths from heart disease, stroke, and disease
Nearly half of all deaths due to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes in the US in 2012 were associated with suboptimal consumption of certain dietary factors, according to a study appearing in the March 7 issue of JAMA.
Certain heart fat associated with higher risk of heart disease in postmenopausal women
For the first time, researchers have pinpointed a type of heart fat, linked it to a risk factor for heart disease and shown that menopausal status and estrogen levels are critical modifying factors of its associated risk in women.
More Heart Disease News and Heart Disease Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Accessing Better Health
Essential health care is a right, not a privilege ... or is it? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can give everyone access to a healthier way of life, despite who you are or where you live. Guests include physician Raj Panjabi, former NYC health commissioner Mary Bassett, researcher Michael Hendryx, and neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#543 Give a Nerd a Gift
Yup, you guessed it... it's Science for the People's annual holiday episode that helps you figure out what sciency books and gifts to get that special nerd on your list. Or maybe you're looking to build up your reading list for the holiday break and a geeky Christmas sweater to wear to an upcoming party. Returning are pop-science power-readers John Dupuis and Joanne Manaster to dish on the best science books they read this past year. And Rachelle Saunders and Bethany Brookshire squee in delight over some truly delightful science-themed non-book objects for those whose bookshelves are already full. Since...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab